Formal vs informal wording when writing an academic text

Writing requires certain skills you need to possess in order to produce a good and comprehensive piece of composition. At the very beginning you should ask yourself who is going to read your writing and how you might structure it the best way to deliver your message. In other words, it should be made clear whether you use a formal or informal language in your writing style no matter you work on creating an essay or a business correspondence.

Writing formal

Being formal means you are more complex and you have a depth of thoughts as you are expanding your arguments. Formal style involves scientific essays or any letter addressing a person or organization with whom you are not familiar. Regardless whether you are writing a letter or an essay, the first step is to carefully determine the concept. It should be based on a good structure which comes with an introduction, the main body and the conclusion. 

  1. In the introduction you give the reader enough background information to enable him to understand the issue.
  2. The body of your writing is where you speak out clearly and concisely. What are you writing about? What is the importance of it? This is where you create your thread of meaning and argument with a clear development of points.
  3. The final part should have an aim of the reason you are writing. It may persuade, resolve or clarify the issue you have elaborated.

Academic language consists of longer sentences and strong vocabulary without abbreviations. For instance, in a formal style a typical sentences should be “scholars have found that ethic values and attitudes begin to crystallize at the age of four with children” instead of saying that “4-year kids start to learn values and attitudes”. On the whole, you need to be objective while supporting your ideas using scientifically relevant vocabulary or commonly used, appropriate language in formal correspondence. An example of the formal versus informal wording can be usually found on online dictionary websites, as Cambridge.

Writing informal

On the other hand, if you need to use the informal style, it is much simpler. You are grounded in the real world and you write from the heart. Your writing is personal, which means you use the first person “I” and your tone is more emotional and empathetic. You do not bother with lengthening your sentences but keep them short and easy to understand.  You feel confident with shortening the words so you can use grammatical contractions and abbreviations, such as “I`m”, and “don`t” or “TV” and “photos”.  You may even use incomplete sentences and still be able to deliver the message.  Informal writing is close to spoken communication. It allows for using slangs and colloquial phrases and you are allowed to refer to the reader using the second person “you” or “your”. How and when to use formal or informal writing is simply explained in numerous writing blogs, so do not worry, you have many guides to choose from.

Overall, the difference between the writing styles is not a matter of merit. Both formal and informal writing serve their purpose. It is up to you when and with whom you pick the style that suits best for your aim.

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